Dec 11: Assess Yourself

On December 11, 2018, we continued our Goal Month conversation with a self-assessment episode. Here are the show notes:


Dr. Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting and WBC of SC Co-Founder

Shennice Cleckley, The Chief Start-Up Evangelist and WBC of SC Coach

Theme for the day:

Goal Setting Month! We’re working on assessing our current situation this week.

Agenda review:

  • Review last week’s “What are Goals?” intro
  • “Where are you now?” workshop.
  • Next week we’ll define some goals and plan some measurement activities for 2019.
art assess communication conceptual
Photo by Pixabay on

Segment 1:

Start Something, Columbia! Is brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College.

Last week’s episode was all about goals and goal setting practices. We talked about SMART goals which are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant to your business, and Time-bound or have deadlines.

We also talked about categorizing goals — Family, Career, Financial, Health & Wellness, Education

We talked a lot about prioritizing goals and that’s where today’s assessment comes in. How can you prioritize what you want to work on without knowing what areas need the most work?

Personally speaking, you probably know those areas that need the most work. You know if your exercise routine fell off this year, if your eating habits slipped during football season, or if you are only reading romance novels instead of quality literature. Okay, all of those are just Kasie. Even so, you know the personal stuff you need to fix, right?

But we all have blind spots and our businesses have them, too. There are things we are pursuing that may be eating up too many resources and bringing in too little revenue. So let’s assess where the business is and see if we can’t prioritize our business corrections before we set some goals next week.

Segment 2

So this resource from Osceola, Florida’s Chamber of Commerce provides some key self-reflection areas to think through:

Identify your goals for your business in the short- and long-term with these questions:

  • Financially, do you need to break even? Replace your current salary? Achieve a specific revenue target?
  • Personally, how will you define success and find motivation? Customer feedback? Industry networking? Meeting a specific identified market need? Serving a specific population?

Identify areas of expertise that you will need to cultivate:

  • What skills do you need to acquire or hire? Who do you know that has these skills?
  • What type of support system do you have? Are there other entrepreneurs in your circle that you can turn to for advice or support?

Plan for the end of your business with these questions:

  • How will you make the decision to sell or close your business, if necessary? What concessions or changes to your business model are you willing to make to be successful?

This resource suggests these clues to “your business is going well”

  • Revenue is growing — you have more clients, more work, more sales, just more this time in 2018 than you had this time last year.
  • Your expenses are not outpacing your revenu — you’re spending the same or less than you were this time last year
  • You have a mix of repeat and new customers — always adding new clients and earning more business or maintaining contracts with existing customers
  • You’ve got money in the bank — cash balance is a sign of business sustainability and growth; maintaining a healthy balance can demonstrate your business is earning while investing smartly
  • Your debt ratios are low — those important credit ratings debt-to-asset and debt-to-equity are solvency ratings; they indicate your ability to pay debt
  • Your profit margins are high — this is so important – you can have high revenue without having his profitability and you still won’t be making any money. Keep an eye on that profitability measurement.

This resource from the Alexandria SBDC suggests answering these questions can give you an idea of where you stand:

  • Do you know how many customers you had this year? — you may have some reporting mechanism like a point-of-sale system that can create a report for you.
  • Do you know how much it costs you to do business with each of those customers? — this is a calculation of some valuable numbers – Customer Acquisition Cost, Invoice Value, Expenses – getting acquainted with these basic accounting measurements can answer some questions for you.
  • What tools have you been using to manage your business? How have those tools been working?
  • What marketing efforts did you attempt this year? How did they work for you?

How about these questions from — they get more at fulfillment and focus than the mechanics of business:

  • How am I doing?
  • Am I making it?
  • Am I earning money from it?
  • Is all the trouble worth it?
  • Am I still enjoying what I am doing, or has the business become a big burden?

Or these questions:

  • Is your business good for your customers? Your employees? — you’re pursuing your goals and dreams, sure, but are your employees and customers benefiting, too?
  • Are you adding jobs? Adding to the local economy? — your business exists in an environment to which is must contribute in order to be sustained.
  • Are you adding to your industry? Changing your market? Building on what others have done to improve service or product delivery? — your business exists in an industry that you must contribute to in order to be sustained; how are you making that industry better?
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Start Something, Columbia! is brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina headquartered at Columbia College.

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